Anticipating the Health Needs of Americans: Some Economic Projections

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Per capita demand for medical goods and serv ices depends upon three categories of variables: (1) consumer preferences, (2) consumer purchasing power, and (3) prices of medical goods and services compared with other goods and services. Forces in each category are operating to raise market demand. Research is providing new and improved drugs and therapeutic devices which tend to affect prefer ences and direct spending toward health. Rising income is similarly leading to increased demand for medical goods and services; and more crowded urban living quarters with rising prices of household servants are increasing the difficulty of home care for the ill and are producing an enhanced demand for hospital services. While additional medical resources will be needed to meet the rising per capita demand, both the ratios of physicians and hospital beds to population are declining. Adverse effects of the declining relative number of physicians are being reduced by rising physician productivity, but the relative decline in the number of hospital beds is particularly serious in the light of increased per capita use of hospitals. Increased demand for health services is also being reflected in the government medical research and health services budgets. For some years, the percentage of income devoted to the prevention of illness and to treatment of the ill will grow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
JournalThe Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
StatePublished - 1961


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